The noninvasive treatment known as Emsculpt shoots high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy through the skin to build muscle and tone the body.
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Emsculpt increases muscle mass by 16 percent and reduces the waistline by approximately 19 percent, according to the company.
How does it work?
The procedure is relatively quick and painless. A rubber pad is placed on the target muscle area, such as your abs, thighs, or buttocks. The pad then produces intense electromagnetic waves that cause involuntary muscle contractions.
These contractions trigger the release of free fatty acids, which break down fat deposits and increase muscular tone and strength, similar to the way doing a situp or lunge would.
Like exercising, the body responds to the wear and tear the stimulation causes by rebuilding and repairing muscle tissue, resulting in stronger, firmer muscles. You’ll feel the same soreness after Emsculpt that you would after a strenuous workout.
“It would be like doing 20,000 situps in 30 minutes — well beyond the capacity of the most ambitious workout,” Dr. Margo Weishar, a board-certified dermatologist at Springhouse Dermatology and Aesthetics in Pennsylvania, told Healthline.
“This new technology actually builds muscles through forced contractions, [and] these contractions also help to destroy fat cells in the treated area,” Weishar added.
If you end up losing fat, consider that a bonus.
Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, a dermatologist at Yale New Haven Hospital and president of Connecticut-based Modern Dermatology, says data from small studies have shown possible fat reduction, but that Emsculpt is only FDA-approved for muscle toning and strengthening.
“While this technology stimulates muscle hypertrophy with repeated and continued treatments, it is not a fat-directed therapy,” she told Healthline.
Robinson is also part of the medical advisory board for aesthetic medicine at Healthline.
The treatment requires four 30-minute sessions — two a week for two weeks — to achieve maximum results. The results aren’t permanent, though, so if you stop, the toning will, too.